Saturday, 28 June 2014

Last night's festivities in Place Garrigou began with a demonstration of Portuguese traditional dance and music.  Here's the gang waiting to begin.

The music and dancing was amazing - such energy and passion!

Then the feu was lit - quite close to the trees, as usual!

The band played until 1.30 am starting off of course with 'Allumez le Feu' (Johnny Hallyday) then the music veered between traditional French accordion music, Hip-Hop, current pop hits, sambas and tangos, etc.  Something for everyone!
I'm not complaining, I do enjoy loud music, but our windows were actually vibrating!
Bright & early this morning, around 7 am, the cyclists and their supporters were swarming ready for the départ alongside the river.
There are 3 routes/levels of difficulty - L'Ariegoise (165.5 km), La Mountagnole (103 km) and La Passejade (73.5km).
L'Ariegeoise rises 3,558 metres and finishes after a tortuous route up to the Plateau de Beille ski station.  The temperature today is rising to 32 degs!
This year is the 20th anniversaire of the Ariegeoise and there are in fact 5,500 cyclists taking part!

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